Blue Peter Public Health and Research Centre (BPHRC)

GENESIS:
 
Dhoolpet Leprosy Referral Centre (DLRC)

DLRC, was originally an urban clinic of Dichipally hospital (originally known Victoria Leprosy Hospital), comprising a component of clinical research in leprosy. The centre focused on research in Dapsone mono resistance, leprosy reactions under the guidance of Dr Diana Lockwood and other eminent scientists. This centre was taken over by LEPRA Society in year 1989, continuing it as Dhoolpet Leprosy Research Centre.

Blue Peter Research Centre (BPRC)

DLRC was transformed into BPRC in 1997 with the support from Lepra and Blue Peter Children Fund. Eventually, the centre has been recognised as Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO) by the Department of Science and Technology with a state-of the art facility to undertake applied bio medical research in the disciplines of Clinical/ Immunology/ Molecular Biology aspects of leprosy.

Blue Peter Public Health and Research Centre (BPHRC)

In 2010,the public health component was incorporated into BPRC with an emphasis on clinical and epidemiological research in TB, leprosy and NTDs, of immediate relevance to the people affected.

The Blue Peter Public Health and Research Centre (BPHRC) was established from the funds raised by a BBC television show for children, ‘Blue Peter’. It is a nodal research centre towards implementing organisation strategic research areas Leprosy, Tuberculosis (TB) and, Lymphatic Filariasis. The BPHRC functions in line with the above strategic aim of the LS with a clinic and two laboratories (immunology and molecular biology, Microbiology) as core components with in the center.The BPHRC brings uniqueness to LEPRA Society as an NGO with a centrally located laboratory that works closely with clinics and outreach programme across multiple regions in India endemic to leprosy, TB and LF.

Research Governance:
Mechanisms governing research at BPHRC are well in place. The Research Advisory Committee (RAC), Institutional Ethical Committee (IEC) and Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBSC) which comprise well-known scientists, doctors and other socially responsible individuals, oversee the research activities.

Overview:

The clinical services include a referral centre, for diagnosis and management of leprosy and its complications; with physiotherapy and supply of customised footwear; TB services under designated microscopy centre for diagnosing and treatment of TB; Facilitated integrated counselling centre for HIV provides voluntary counselling and testing services for HIV suspects and prophylaxis and referral services for PLHIV. Morbidity management services for persons affected with lymphatic filariasis are a recent addition.The BPHRC conducts community outreach activities in its operational area covering about 315,210 people.

Laboratory research of the centre focuses in the areas of immunology, molecular biology and microbiology of leprosy and TB. Research activities at the centre focus on early case detection and antimicrobial drug resistance and host immune mechanism towards infections in leprosy, TB and TB-HIV. Earlier research at this laboratory established research-based evidence for better local policies in managing drug resistant TB. Research interests in leprosy includes investigating Vitamin D supplementation for improved therapeutic outcomes, develop tests that determine infection, early biomarkers (pathogen and host) for diagnosis and prognosis of leprosy in general and leprosy reaction in particular and identify potential vaccine candidates. Molecular screening for detection of anti-leprosy drug resistance is being conducted on specimens transported from field projects of LEPRA Society.

Capacity building:

Research training: A wide range of training programmes for undergraduates, postgraduates and post-doctoral researchers to develop knowledge and skills are offered. The research-based teaching and hands-on training offered to the trainees, the state-of-the-art equipment and well-equipped labs, serve as the basis for attracting and holding on to young researchers.

Academic and Technical training: Medical education programme for medical graduates and post-graduates. Skill enhancement training for field and laboratory staff working on leprosy and TB.

Dissemination of knowledge: The knowledge accrued is disseminated through peer reviewed journal publications at national and international levels (84), presentations at various conferences (45) and community awareness programmes (45).

 

An NIH Fogarty Training and Research Program on HIV and TB in India has been initiated at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt-India-HTRTP) in May, 2015. This new Pitt-India-HTRTP program will operate in collaboration with our partners at LEPRA Society (LepS), Hyderabad, India, one of the major research and clinical centers working on HIV and TB. For more details contact:

Dr. Aparna Srikantam, M.D
Head-Research
LEPRA India - Blue Peter Public Health & Research Centre
Near TEC Bldg, Cherlapally, Hyderabad – 501 301, India 
Phone: 91 40 27264547; 27261262; FAX: 91 40 27264547,

Email: aparna@leprahealthinaction.in ;  bphrc@leprahealthinaction.in